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The Art of Being Mugged

I'm just back from Geneva, where delegations from 32 National Bodies (NB's), plus Ecma, met for five days at the CICG. Present were 104 delegates in a large, double room with tables four deep, in two sections arrayed in a chevron. As we reached mid week, we were presented with a set of ballot choices, to deal with the responses that could not be discussed during the meeting, for lack of time, which would at the current rate of processing amount to 800-900 of the 1,027. We were told that these options are not in the Directives and that we have been given these choices because ITTF "needs to act in the best interests of the IEC". I don't quite get it, but there appears to be some concern over what the press would think if the BRM did not handle all of the comments.

Google helps FSFE's Freedom Task Force to deliver training, attend conferences and translate documents.

Google has made a donation to assist FSFE's Freedom Task Force with delivering training courses, attending conferences and localising documents. "The Freedom Task Force is working to foster effective legal infrastructure for Free Software in Europe. A great deal of our work is based on engaging directly with people and Google's contribution will allow us to do this more effectively," says Shane Coughlan, FTF Coordinator. "Training, physical presence in countries and providing materials in local languages are essential aspects of building a coherent pan-European community."

Digium Asterisk Scores Global Distribution Deal

Digium, one of Asterisk’s strongest proponents, plans to announce a global distribution partnership within two weeks, The VAR Guy has learned. The announcement, expected to be made at VoiceCon Orlando, could accelerate customer interest in open source PBXs and IP telephony systems. Here's the scoop

Interview with Vint Cerf, by Sean Daly

Groklaw's Sean Daly had an opportunity to meet Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, at OpenForum Europe last week. Mr. Cerf, known as the Father of the Internet because of being the co-designer with Robert Kahn of TCP/IP protocols and the basic architecture of the Internet, was gracious enough to answer some email questions Sean propounded regarding the future of the Internet, standards in general, and OOXML in particular. Like many others this week, Cerf has been giving the standards process considerable thought, and he concludes in connection with OOXML that "Internet users deserve better handling of global Internet standards."

NDISwrapper and the GPL

"A change after 2.6.24 broke ndiswrapper by accidentally removing its access to GPL-only symbols," noted Pavel Roskin, offering a patch to address the issue. Linux creator Linus Torvalds was unimpressed, "I'm not seeing why ndiswrapper should be treated separately. If it loads non-GPL modules, it shouldn't be able to use GPLONLY symbols." The NDISwrapper project page explains, "many vendors do not release specifications of the hardware or provide a Linux driver for their wireless network cards. This project implements Windows kernel API and NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification) API within Linux kernel. A Windows driver for wireless network card is then linked to this implementation so that the driver runs natively, as though it is in Windows, without binary emulation."

Hands-on with the 9-inch Eee PC

If you hadn't guessed from the headline, and as rumored just an hour ago, there's 9-inches of LCD on this thing. Actually, 8.9, but who's counting? We found out that and a few other little tidbits about this Eee PC "New Generation" at the ASUS booth just now, but for the most part the 9-inch Eee PC is quite similar to its 7-inch forebearer.

Easing into Open Source

Open-source software can save an organization money and open the door to customization, but it pays to know where to start and where to get help. When considering which software applications to buy, more and more midsize companies are considering open source—low-cost or free software whose source code can be modified by users or developers. Open-source software holds great appeal for these companies; not only is it generally much less expensive, but it is often more flexible, reliable, robust and customizable.

Some clarifications on the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting

I have been one of the two Greek delegates to the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM). Lots of things have already been written about the meeting. I will not repeat them here, but will only make a few clarifications on things that I think are not well understood.

[Probably the most detailed report I've seen so far on the misproceedings last week. - Sander]

Rules altered in OOXML standardization process

ISO delegates working to standardize Open Office XML created new rules on the fly to cover the fact they failed to discuss nearly 80 per cent of the 1,100 questions submitted about the document specification format because they ran out of time during their five-day meeting in Geneva.

The LinuxSampler Project

This week we'll look at what's been going on recently with LinuxSampler, a very cool software audio sampler. I have to say at the outset that this article was tough to write, I was just having far too much fun with the program.

Microsoft Vs. Open Source In The SaaS Market

Yes, Microsoft is finally polishing its Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy. In addition to playing catch-up against entrenched SaaS companies like, Microsoft must also deal with a growing number of open source providers — from SugarCRM to MySQL and Sun — that have jumped on the SaaS bandwagon. Here's the scoop.

Xen Fullvirt Direct Kernel Boot

  •; By Daniel Berrange (Posted by dba477 on Mar 3, 2008 1:16 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Reviews; Groups: Red Hat
In all prior Fedora releases fullyvirtualized Xen guests had to boot via the QEMU BIOS. This means booting from a CDROM, harddisk, or Network PXE. Paravirtualized guests could always boot directly from a kernel and initrd. This allowed for fully automated guest installation since it allowed the tools to pass arguments straight into anaconda. KVM fullyvirtualized guests also support direct kernel booting.

Open Source Tool of March: ZoneMinder

For January and February, we chose some of the staples of open source security (GnuPG and Nmap) as the tool of the month. And deservedly so; both have just celebrated their ten-year anniversary in the open source realm, a rare feat for any open source project, much less one founded on security. But for the month of March, we wanted to move ahead and change gears. This month's Open Source Tool is no newbie for sure, but we bet that most of you reading haven't heard of it. While most Linux security tools deal with digital security, this month's tool is one of the few to cross that divide;

Akademy 2008: Call for Presentations

As the new leaves of spring bud in the Low Countries, the organisation of Akademy is also growing. This will bear fruit in August as the worldwide KDE community gathers in Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium at the De Nayer Institute to celebrate and consider the post-KDE 4.0 world. Now that the KDE 4 technology platform is in place, this year's Akademy will focus on bringing the pillars of KDE to applications, research efforts around KDE, and work on non-traditional platforms for the desktop.

So you want to start a successful open source business?

Selling FOSS – most customers don’t care if its FOSS or proprietary – they just want to get the job done. So its easy to pitch to small/medium scale business. The low-up front costs is useful, and think about the insurance aspect (i.e. Others can work on it, even if you exit the industry).

BashStyle-NG: A useful idea poorly implemented

Inside BashStyle-NG, a strong idea struggles to be born. On one hand, if you use the bash shell at all, you will likely find several of BashStyle-NG's customization options worth trying -- all the more so because they are only a few mouse clicks away. On the other, a poorly designed interface makes using the program a matter of guesswork, despite the fact that the latest release is supposedly the third release candidate for version 5.0.

Adobe Pushes DRM for Flash

The immense popularity of sites like YouTube has unexpectedly turned Flash Video (FLV) into one of the de facto standards for Internet video. The proliferation of sites using FLV has been a boon for remix culture, as creators made their own versions of posted videos. And thus far there has been no widespread DRM standard for Flash or Flash Video formats; indeed, most sites that use these formats simply serve standalone, unencrypted files via ordinary web servers. Now Adobe, which controls Flash and Flash Video, is trying to change that with the introduction of DRM restrictions in version 9 of its Flash Player and version 3 of its Flash Media Server software.

Full Circle mag reviews Xubuntu on Asus EEE PC

Ubuntu fans will be pleased to hear that issue 10 of Full Circle, the Ubuntu community magazine has been released. Highlights in this issue include an easy guide to installing Linux Mint, tips on compiling from source code, creating your own server and ripping a DVD with Acidrip. But the one you don’t want to miss is Ronnie Tucker’s review of the ultra-small Asus EEE PC.

World to Dell: We want desktop Linux!

While Dell is yet to make an announcement for Australia, the PC maker's UK office has declared: "Dell Answers Customer Calls For Linux In Europe". Unless of course you live in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey ...

Where have all the usergroups gone?

For a number of years now Tectonic has hosted a list of open source and Linux usergroups based in Africa. Usergroups are, after all, the lifeblood of free and open source software and the fact that the number of groups was always growing was good news for free software in Africa. But lately the list of active groups appears to be dwindling. So where have all the usergroups gone?

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